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Why Attorney General Bill Barr is mad at Apple

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The FBI didn’t need Apple’s help to crack a suspected terrorist’s iPhone, but it’s demanding it anyway.
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Months after claiming that the FBI needed Apple’s assistance to unlock a suspected terrorist’s iPhones, Attorney General Bill Barr announced on Monday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) managed to unlock the phones on its own. In a statement that could serve as a harbinger of government-mandated privacy invasions to come, Barr harshly criticized Apple and called for a “legislative solution” to its obstinance.
“Thanks to the great work of the FBI — and no thanks to Apple — we were able to unlock Alshamrani’s phones,” Barr said in a press release.
The phones belonged to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who killed three people on a naval air station in Pensacola, Florida, in December. During its investigation into Alshamrani’s possible links to terrorist groups, the FBI uncovered two locked iPhones. As it did in 2016 during the investigation of another person with possible terrorist ties, the Department of Justice demanded that Apple unlock the phones for them. Apple has repeatedly said that it does not currently have the ability to unlock passcode-protected phones and that creating a backdoor that would allow the company to access locked devices would compromise the security and privacy on which its customers rely.
In this most recent case, Apple was not able to unlock the phones, although the company said that it gave the FBI access to any and all information related to Alshamrani that it had, including iCloud backups of Alshamrani’s phones.
“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,” Apple said in a statement to Recode.

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